Steam is the go-to platform for buying games on PC, so it is not surprising that the deep discounts found during Steam’s Summer Sale draw a lot of traffic to the site. What WAS surprising was the events that occurred the day after the sale ended.
According to statistics sites such as Vac-Ban.com and SteamDB, Valve’s Anti-Cheating System handed out more than 40,000 bans on July 6th, 2017. This is a large spike compared to 2000-5000 daily bans normally given out by the system.
The anti-cheating program, commonly known as VAC, is an automated system used on Steam’s secured servers to detect cheats. There are two different bans handed down by VAC – game bans that keeps the affected account from logging into a specific game and account bans that prohibits access to any VAC-secured server. This includes games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Ark: Survival Evolved, Killing Floor 2 and many others.
Of the bans handed out on July 6th, 547 were game bans. That means the majority of the bans were account bans and around $9200 worth of downloadable content was deemed forfeit.
On Steam’s VAC page, the company states that all VAC bans are final unless automatically overturned by the system, leaving those affected no avenue to appeal the decision. The only upside being that any single player games or modes are still accessible.
This news comes on the heels of the controversial bans handed out by Gun Media, the developers of the Friday The 13th: The Game. According to a post by the developer on Reddit some players have been permanently banned from the game for griefing- the act of sabotaging teammates in order to gain experience points or other in-game rewards.
The close proximity of the incidents calls into question the effectiveness of anti-cheating measures and the consumer’s rights in the face of questionable banning.
Though Gun Media has responded to the controversy by saying that they will be replacing the current reporting system with a better one soon, Valve has yet to comment at this time.